'On-wall' Wiring Solution Systems
for easy HDTV installation
An alternative to in-wall wiring: A/V Cable Channels
Are you looking for a simple DIY AV cabling solution to hide unsightly audio, video and power cables when wall mounting an LCD or plasma television? Do you want an on-wall solution that still gives you the clean look and feel of a professional in-wall wiring installation?
Way back in April 2007, we reviewed what then turned to be the first simple-to-install surface-mounted wiring solution that still yielded a professionally looking finish; this was the ‘Superb Home Theater’ cabling channel system created by furniture designer Anthony Lozano.
The Superb Home Theater solution is still an interesting option worth looking into if you want a surface-mounted cabling system. But this is no longer the only one; there are other simple-to-install on-wall cable management systems as featured in the second part of the article; these often come cheaper and are designed with the DIY home installer in mind. The main concept as always... easy home theater installation. Read here to discover more.
Surely, everyone would agree that a wall-mounted flat panel television would look at its best when all connecting power and audio/video cables are completely hidden from view. This applies in particular when it comes to installing one of the latest ultra-slim one-inch thin plasmas or LED TVs.
However, many are not lucky enough to have any pre in-wall ducting they may use through which to pass A/V cables and power cords between the TV and interconnecting gear. And if there is any empty buried conduit in walls, this is probably the ¾-inch (20mm) diameter-type used by electricians in domestic installations. This is too small to carry the larger diameter audio and video cables. One should keep in mind that any wiring solution for audio and video cables must take into account that these cables have limited pull strength with respect to electrical wiring; in addition, these often come with pre-installed connectors. In other words, you need a relatively large diameter conduit to pass audio and video cables when concealing cables in walls.
Aesthetically, running cables through a wall yields the best results. Yet from a practical perspective, this requires substantial DIY skills and a lot of effort especially when retrofitting a room. Furthermore, should you decide to hire a professional installer, the whole job can turn out to be difficult to manage and pretty expensive. And once cables are installed in walls and access holes closed, it would not be easy to replace any faulty cables or pass extra cables later.
Equally important, burying cables in walls as a wiring solution is invasive in nature. It requires expensive patching should the day come when you decide to move that flat panel TV elsewhere.
Moving to a surface mounted wiring solution would do away with these difficulties while minimizing your installation expense. Most inexpensive wiring solutions intended for DIY installations consists of nothing more than PVC trunking. It is true that these are available in various shapes and colors, but the cheap plastic feel associated with these wiring solutions do not complement the stylish look of modern flat-panel HDTVs.
Luckily, things are starting to change thanks to the availability of a few 'stylish' wiring solutions on the market targeting the DIY home installer.
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On-Wall Cable Management Solutions for TV Installation
In this article, we first explore the Superb Home Theater wiring solution. It is relatively affordable, easy-to-install, and provides an effective way of concealing all your AV and power cables with the rest of the room finish; its only real problem is that it is no longer readily available.
We then discuss available surface-mounted AV cable management alternatives that are equally easy-to-install and that still manage to conceal—to a varying degree—your surface-mounted cables while still yielding a professionally looking installation.
In principle, the Superb Home Theater wiring solution consists of low profile (1" x 5") wall-mounted cabling channels, designed to hide AV cables and connecting power cords in a flat-panel TV installation.
While primarily designed for use in HDTVs and home theater installations, these cabling channels are also suitable for use in other applications where you want to conceal short runs of on-wall cabling between electrical appliances. Instead of drilling sizable holes in drywall or chasing for conduit in brick wall, you just camouflage interconnecting surface-mounted cables between the TV and the remaining equipment, or between appliances.
The Superb Home Theater channels are available in various standard lengths, ranging from a 19-inch section (model WS12) to conceal up to 12 inches of on-wall cabling, to 46-inch (model WS30) for cable runs of up to 30 inches. They are also available in custom lengths up to 96 inches. Price starts at $39 for the WS12, while custom lengths cost $25 per linear foot excl. shipping and handling.
These channels come with a rounded-edge design on the front that blends perfectly well into the wall between the display and the equipment rack.
The backside is hollow and includes two separate channels, each ½-inch in depth by 1⅜-inch width. These are large enough to hold any interconnecting cables you might ever need for your flat screen TV.
Cables are kept in place using specially designed plastic wire retainer flaps that hold the wiring in place during installation.
These channels are made from ultra light (UL) Medium Density Fiberboard; they come in both smooth and plaster-textured finish, and are prime coated ready for paint.
Each wiring solution kit comes complete with wall fasteners, a foam brush to paint the channeling once the installation is complete, a well presented installation guide, and a 1-year limited warranty.
Installation is simple and straightforward. As long as you can use a screwdriver, a hammer, and a spirit level, you can do the job. You would also need a small electric or battery-operated drill when dealing with a brick wall installation.
Applying caulk is optional but it leads to a more seamless look.
The complete installation should not take more than 45 minutes—even if you are not a seasoned DIY type. These wiring channels would almost disappear once installed and painted with the same colored paint as your walls.
And if you want a more professional finish with a seamless look, you can simply apply caulk around the edges, smooth it out, and then let it dry before painting.
The result is a pleasing custom look that matches perfectly well with any flat panel TV and room decor.
More information on the Superb Home Theater Solution is available from the superbhometheater website
When released just over four years ago, the Superb Home Theater wiring solution represented an interesting and innovative option to hide and manage surface-mounted unsightly AV cables. However, since its release, a number of other manufactures have come up with similar wiring systems. These often come at a cheaper price, and like the Superb Home Theater solution, are aimed at making it easy for the users with limited DIY skills, to conceal surface-mounted AV cables while still achieving a professional look and an aesthetically pleasing result when wall mounting their flat-panel HDTV.
Installation of the on-wall wiring solutions systems detailed below is extremely simple and follows on the same footsteps as Superb Home Theater solution described above.
A case in point is the range of surface mounted Omnimount CMK Cable Management Covers.
Available at amazon, this line covers a whole set of mounting options ranging from 1-inch to 4-inch channel widths. The Omnimount system comes in the form of a kit that includes three interlocking straight portions for a total length of 48-inches, one 90° cable cover, 2 end caps, screws, and attachment hardware.
Multiple kits can be interlocked together to provided added length. In addition, like the Superb Home Theater wiring solution, the Omnimount CMK Cable Management system can be painted to better match the rest of your room decor.
Monster Cable CleanView
Another interesting option is the CleanView System by Monster Cable.
The main advantage of the Monster Cable CleanView shown here is that it can simply be fixed on to your wall with double-sided tape. We do not recommend this type of installation approach as with the weight of the cables, they may detach over time. Instead, it is better to use the drywall screens included with the kit, but the use of double-sided tape is still an option.
Bell'O CMS169W Cable Management Solution
An equally suitable on-wall AV wiring solution is the Bell'O CMS169W Cable Management System. It is one of the cheapest around, and to a certain extent, this reflects in the relatively cheap plastic construction. But it is definitely a functional kit which once installed and painted would look good on the wall. The kit includes three 18-inch straight sections, and a number of other parts to complete most installations.
Cable Management & On-wall Wiring Solutions at AMAZON
To access the full range of flat-panel TV wiring solutions at amazon.com, click on the following link: Cable Management Solutions at amazon.com
A large selection of on-wall cable management systems is also available at amazon UK.